What A Glorious Heritage!

Let this be recorded for a generation to come, 
so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD. (Psalm 102:18, ESV)

My late uncle, Linda Makelele - freedom fighter, politician, and journalist
On 8th September this year, we lost an uncle, Mr. Linda M. Makelele right  here in Lusaka. He was the immediate younger brother to my mother, a noted freedom fighter, and one of the founder members of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD). In his letter of condolences to the family, the then president of Zambia, Mr. Rupiah Bwezani Banda, among other things, wrote: 
I am heartbroken to learn of the death of Mr. Linda Makelele, a noted freedom fighter and political leader. I am deeply moved to see that the deceased has left us shortly before the 2011 elections, a democratic pillar that he fought so hard to achieve for his country. His exemplary record is a powerful lesson to upcoming generations about the meaning of selfless service. Without people like Mr. Makelele, the independence struggle and the development of our nation would have been far more difficult to realise. 
Former president, Mr. Rupiah Bwezani Banda
My uncle did not die with any earthly and material possessions to his name. But there was one item that was almost inseparable from him. It was always by his side whenever he travelled out of town. This item was a black briefcase. For many years, we wondered what was in that briefcase. From the way he treasured it, our conclusion was that it must contain something very valuable and precious to him. 

So when uncle died last month, and after all the legal formalities of appointing an administrator had been taken care of, we had, for the first time, an opportunity to discover the contents of the deceased's briefcase. No one knew the combination to the locks, so we had to break the case open in order to have access to its contents. And what we discovered was nothing anyone of us expected. There were documents going as far back as 1963, a few photographs, and a book in which he had pasted dated newspaper articles and pictures from the 1960s on. My uncle was a trained journalist, and these things must have meant a lot to him. 

Priceless discovery in my late uncle's briefcase 
Some of these pictures and newspaper cuttings have information concerning some close family members, and many others are about significant events in the life of our nation, Zambia. 

I don’t think uncle was doing this for himself. He must have wanted to preserve these documents so that they become some kind of a window through which we can look back and learn something about his life and the history of our country. And for sure, there is so much, which we previously did not know about him and some of our close family members. Now we are glad that the missing gaps have been filled in by this prized collection. And that is the beauty of recording and preserving history, it speaks to future generations. 

The text at the head of this post eloquently speaks of what uncle was determined to do through his personal archive. He wanted to have these things put on record for future generations, and it has been inspiring to read these historical accounts and see the many sacrifices made by so many people in the struggle for our independence. In his address to the nation on the eve of Zambia's 47th Independence anniversary, the current president, His Excellency Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata extolled the contributions of many Zambian heroes who fought for our independence:
The independence we celebrate today was attained at great cost. Our founding fathers and mothers spared nothing in freeing us from the yoke of colonialism. No pain was too hard for them to bear, no load too heavy to carry; no life was too precious to lose for the cause of freedom, prosperity and dignity for mother Zambia.
Current Zambian President, His Excellency, Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata 
I feel a a sense of pride to know that my family, in a small way, contributed to the struggle for the liberation of Zambia. What a glorious heritage! I thank God for my late uncle who preserved vital historical information for us his progeny to know that we stand on the shoulders of giants. If the information we now possess was in our hands much earlier than this, we would have forced uncle to write a book and narrate his, and many other members of our family's involvement in the struggle for our independence.  Except for a school in Northwestern province named after one of our departed heroes, many remain humbly unknown.
My late grandfather, mum's dad, Mr. Makelele - preacher, headman and freedom fighter, being honoured by the former president, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda in October 1967. He died in September 1969, a few months before I was born. 
On the occasion of Zambia's 47th independence anniversary, I wish my country a prosperous and peaceful future. May the Almighty God bless the people of the republic of Zambia.


  1. This is indeed a tasty piece of the cake of Zambian history.

    Our failure to preserve our history in written form, despite our many educated people, continues to worry me. For instance, I have noticed in our recently published Hymnbook (Grace Hymns Supplement) that almost all the vernacular hymns have "author unknown" written next to them. That is very sad.

    Perhaps your uncle hoped that by the time his "time capsule" was discovered, there would be a new dispensation of Zambians who would treasure history sufficiently to want to record its contents. Let us wait and see...